Time for a baby gear garage sale… and he’s only 7 weeks old

The rate of baby ‘stuff’ accumulation has been remarkable over the past couple of months. We made a conscious decision not to make major baby-related purchases prior to the birth. Call us superstitious… but with the exception of a crib and a car seat we didn’t buy much in advance. It’s a good thing we didn’t. Since Jr’s arrival we’ve accumulated a shocking number of things. Clothes, toys, burp cloths a bassinet, play mats, our beloved Cooshee and on and on it goes. Looking back we’re getting use of a remarkable number of these items, though there’s an almost equal number of items that are taking up space. Some of you may find the following helpful:

Stuffed Animals
Don’t buy these. Other people will at a rate that you’ll find quite shocking. There is one exception to this recommendation. Many of the stuffed toys you’ll receive will be… well… your typical stuffed animal while there are actually some pretty fun and interesting plush toy options available these days. As such I’m actually planning to purchase one (1) plush toy for Jr despite the herd already taking up space in our bedroom. Despite my well known penchant for UglyDolls I have my eye on a little beast from Monster Factory.

Clothes, in particular onesies
Again, you’ll get a ton of these from folks after the birth, and during the various baby showers that are bound to be scheduled. The number isn’t the issue, in fact you’ll want as many of these as you can get your hands on since your baby will be burping, peeing and pooing all over them with abandon. The issue is that they appear to size these things very optimistically. I suppose it could lead to more sales, but man… at 7 weeks Jr fits comfortably in 3 to 6 month onesies and can’t extend his legs when squeezed into 0 to 3 month outfits. Don’t believe the tags, ask people to buy reasonably rather than for cuteness and unless your kid’s a preemie make a point of returning your 0 to 3 in exchange for something that will fit.

Burp cloths and swaddling blankets
We got a lot of these. We need a lot of these. You will need a lot of these too. If someone offers, take them cause you’ll need them.

Diapers and wipes
If they’re not on the boob taking milk in, they’re preparing to expel it from all orifices in quantities that will blow your mind. Again… you’ll never have enough. Stash piles of them everywhere… in your diaper bag, the stroller, your car, every room in the house. One of the best tips I got shortly after Jr arrived was that when preparing to change, lay him on the new diaper before you take the old one off. Further, when you undo the first diaper, use the front of the diaper itself to perform the initial poo wipe to trap the bulk of the solid matter in the old diaper. Then use wipes to get the rest while cautiously guarding against pee in the face. Once wiped, roll up the wipes and the old diaper and throw them in the garbage (one can in every major change room) then quickly do up the new diaper which is already positioned under his butt, which by this time is probably read to fill it. Placement of diaper #2 and use of #1 for wiping are both key. Thank me later.

Anyway, a few tips to guide accumulation where it will be needed and avoid it where it won’t. Good luck!

White noise and your sanity. Why I would recommend a Squeezebox to anyone with a baby

In case you’re not interested in the Squeezebox review and just want to know what calming music works for us with our baby I’ll outline it first and save you some time. That said, I can’t say enough how great its been having boundless music options throughout our house immediately at our fingertips without having to keep our computers running.

Our calming sound preferences and one very specific CD:
Calming Wave Sounds
Sounds of Chirping Crickets
Steady Rainstorm Sounds
Peaceful Babbling Brook Sounds
Deep Forest Comparsa – A personal favorite

Now, on to my review of our use of the Squeezebox Duet to maintain sanity as new parents
Consider this product review number two, though I didn’t actually buy this in response to having our son. We’ve had our Logitech Squeezebox Duet for almost two years now and we’ve loved it with a few exceptions (poor firmware upgrades) but man, I really appreciate it now. Why? The selection it brings, and the fact that most of it is available at any time.

Logitech Squeezebox Duet is good white noise and nature sounds solution to calm your babyRadio’s good, but you’re restricted to the few channels it picks up and what is playing at the time you want to listen. Internet radio’s great, but having to fire up the laptop to manage music is also a pain. The squeezebox is great because a) it is aware of all the digital music we have b) it has access to thousands of Internet radio stations across the world and across all conceivable genres and c) there are whole sets of channels dedicated to calming noises perfect for bedtime.

I’m not sure what products they’ve introduced in the past couple years, so I can’t comment on what the best buy is out there but we remain happy with our duet. We purchased a second receiver for another room in the house as well. One recommendation that I do have if you can find a location selling lone receivers (Amazon offers them here) is not to buy the full receiver and remote combination if you’re an iphone or android smartphone user. Both of these devices offer pretty solid Squeezebox remote apps for a fraction of the price of the full remote hardware. If you don’t have one of these phones then by all means get the remote.

Anyway, as I said… if the day calls for NPR we can listen to NPR. If it calls for a certain podcast we can access that podcast at our leisure… and if the evening is fully of baby cries we can pull up the white noise channels and choose from crickets, bubbling brooks, thunder and many other calming, repeating tracks to soothe junior to sleep. Sure they cost a couple bucks, but man… my sleep is worth it.

There’s a pretty good review of the Squeezebox Duet here.

It’s Time For The Holiday Toy Ideas!

This time around I’ll start with a series of recommendations from one of my favourite tech sites, Engadget.

I’ll keep it pretty simple and just echo their list, and let it be known that I can’t vouch for these as I haven’t played with them myself, but figure there are some folks out there that may benefit from this as they begin their Holiday research.

Note, the links below will go to Amazon for price checks etc.

RC flying toys were the first on their list. A few folks gave really crappy versions of these away as secret santa gifts and despite the poor quality of those particular items we had a great time with them. I can only imagine how much fun a well-designed, well-built radio controlled flying toy could be.
WowWee LightStar
Havoc Heli RC Chopper

Tony Hawk Ride skateboard simulator. If you watch closely you’ll likely find some pretty good deals on this one. Most recently I saw it up as one of eBay’s daily deals.

What’s a 2009 toy list without mention of those Zhu Zhu pets? For those of you who haven’t seen them, I ask, where have you been? Word on the street is that Zhu Zhu pets are THE toy of 2009 although I’ll admit I’ve never seen one, and I don’t know anyone who’s purchased one for their kids.